OIE Confirms African Swine Fever Found in Italy

African swine fever (ASF) has been diagnosed in a wild boar found in Ovada, in the province of Alessandria, per the Italian news wire service ANSA, and confirmed by OIE, the World Organisation for Animal Health. In a report posted on January 7, 2022, ANSA said tests were done by the Zooprophylactic Institute of Umbria and Marche. The results were shared with the Italian Ministry of Health; the agency is responsible for notifying OIE as well as the European Commission. The report posted by OIE on January 10, 2022, said, “Following the finding of a dead wild boar in northern Italy, the positivity for genotype 2 is reported, the same strain currently circulating in Europe, that characterizes the epidemic wave that began in 2007.”

This morning (1/10/2022), additional reporting revealed two other wild boar carcasses were found in Piedmont and Isola del Cantone in the province of Genoa, respectively, both suspected, but not yet confirmed, to have ASF. Another news source indicated three additional wild boar carcass findings, saying, “The discovery of two of the animals along the Bocchetta road between the San Giorgio bridge and the Carossina farmhouse, the third wild boar was found in Val Morsone, near the provincial road, in the locality of Fontana. A hand [sic] was taken from all three carcasses which will be analyzed and then, according to current provisions, as confirmed by the mayor of Voltaggio, Giuseppe Benasso, they were buried with the use of lime.”

This diagnosis of ASF is significant due to the geographical distance from areas in Germany and Poland where wild boar with ASF have been an ongoing issue (Map 1).

Map 1 Location of ASF-infected wild boar discovered in Italy and other ASF infection locations north and east of this latest discovery.

Prior to OIE’s acknowledgement of the discovery, Luigi Genesio Icardi, regional councilor for health in Piedmont, said in a Genova Quotidiana online newspaper report, “Meetings are in progress with the territorially competent veterinary services, the forest management authorities and with the environmental and wildlife hunting sectors. As envisaged by the National Plan for epidemic emergencies, the establishment of the crisis units at local, regional and national level has been started for the fulfillment of the actions envisaged by the operational manual and by the specific regulations on the subject. In the next few hours, the ‘infected area’ and the ‘surveillance area’ will be defined, with the relative prescriptions. We are acting with the utmost promptness, the immediate and coordinated implementation of control measures in wild suidae (boar) is essential in the attempt to confine and eradicate the disease as much as possible.”

The report posted by ANSA also said, “The alarm on the risk of swine fever had been launched in recent days by Confagricoltura Piemonte which had spoken of ‘a strong risk’ of spread linked to ‘excessive proliferation’ of wild boars.” Confagricoltura Piemonte President Enrico Allasia noted the great potential harm posed by the diagnosis to both trade and food security.

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